Tag Archives: Organised Crime

Research suggests up to 45% of fraud linked directly to organised crime

New research conducted by the Police Foundation and Perpetuity Research has found that between 31% and 45% of fraud may be linked to organised crime. This is up to three times higher than the 15% level found in previous studies.

The research, which was funded by The Dawes Trust, looked at a large sample of frauds taking place in the Midlands and the South West. It found that fraud linked to organised crime was more harmful to victims than other types of fraud. On average, individual victims of organised fraud were likely to lose significantly more money per fraud offence (£10,260) than victims of non-organised fraud (£3,982).

Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI, director of Perpetuity Research and one of the research report’s authors, said: “We know that fraud, and particularly online fraud, is the new volume crime. Our research shows that organised crime groups play a much larger role in fraud than has previously been estimated, and that fraud linked to organised crime causes much more harm than other types of fraud.”

Investment fraud was most likely to be linked to organised crime, with around 70% of this fraud type estimated to be perpetrated by organised crime groups. Between a third (38%) and over a half (59%) of mass-marketing fraud is estimated to be linked to organised crime.

stop fraud

The research also found that the police response to fraud was inadequate. Unlike traditional crime types such as burglary and vehicle crime, victims who report a fraud rarely receive a visit from a police officer or any other official.

Response to organised fraud

There are many agencies holding a wide range of powers which could bolster the local response to organised fraud. However, at present these agencies only work together on an ad hoc basis and systematic data sharing is virtually non-existent.

Given the complexity, the expense and the low success rate of fraud investigations, a more problem-oriented, multi-agency approach would, the researchers argue, be somewhat more effective.

Police Foundation director Rick Muir explained: “Despite its increasing scale across the UK, fraud doesn’t currently receive the recognition it deserves and tends to fall between the gaps of a number of agencies, including the police. While the offenders of organised fraud are difficult to prosecute, it’s clear there are vulnerable victims to safeguard, communities to protect and crimes to be prevented. It’s more important than ever to ensure that agencies and authorities don’t relinquish their responsibilities in tackling it.”

On average, Action Fraud receives details on 25,000 reported frauds per month. Based on the researchers’ estimates, this means that between 7,000 and 12,000 reported frauds could be perpetrated by organised criminals every month.

In practice, only a small proportion of these incidents are ever investigated by police forces. Furthermore, forces are not systematically recording the outcomes of fraud investigations, and are therefore not being properly held to account.

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VCA’s analytics energise security and operations for oil and gas sector

Video analytics is increasingly being used as a powerful tool to help remotely monitor and protect vulnerable facilities such as gas and oil pipelines. According to Michael von Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics, it can also assist operations managers to improve productivity for the host organisation.

Since it was established in 2012, Osprey Informatics has been on a mission to revolutionise the use of video to automate and remotely manage industrial operations. Unlike traditional video surveillance models, the company believes that visual information should not be the exclusive domain of corporate security, but rather seen as an asset that can be used throughout an organisation, with a measurable return on investment.

Indeed, it’s this philosophy that has resulted in Osprey Informatics acquiring a long list of prestigious clients, among them Husky Energy and the Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

“A recent report published by MarketsandMarkets Research estimates the oil and gas security and service market will grow from a value of USD26.34 billion in 2015 to USD33.90 billion by 2020,” said von Hauff. “Perhaps this isn’t surprising given the ever-increasing sophisticated activities of organised criminal gangs, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks which can result in major disruption to supplies and potential loss of life, as well as damage to the environment.”

VCAOspreyInformatics

Continuing this theme, von Hauff stated: “With this in mind, our clients are looking to invest in the latest video surveillance technology to ensure they can respond effectively to any threats. We have helped our clients achieve this objective by relying on VCA’s analytics solutions to play a key role.”

Event detection

VCA analytics, developed in the UK by a team of computer vision scientists, can detect movement within very small areas of a video image and provide operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help identify suspicious activity and, when appropriate, despatch security officers or quickly report the incident to one of the Emergency Services.

The ability to do this is significant as it’s widely acknowledged that operators can miss important events after monitoring video for more than 30 minutes or so. The possibility of this happening is increased when individual operators are tasked to view multiple screens.

Not to be confused with Video Motion Detection (VMD), which works on the basis of detecting changes in the light scales of pixels within a video image, VCA analytics is able to provide a far more reliable and accurate solution. It does so by analysing on a frame-by-frame basis the metadata related to the motion and properties of objects within a video stream. The result is a high detection rate and a dramatic reduction in the kind of false alarms that can be generated by VMD software.

Productivity, safety and security

“As part of an integrated video surveillance solution, VCA analytics can provide immediate access to images relevant to urgent operational events, allowing operators to respond quickly to production and environmental incidents as well as security threats,” added von Hauff.

“Companies operating in the oil and gas sector understand the need to protect the environment. They also take the responsibility of creating safe working conditions for employees very seriously and recognise the importance of compliance with Health and Safety policies. VCA analytics can clearly help in these areas. The same technology can be deployed to identify opportunities for improving operational efficiencies. It does this by providing accurate data on a wide range of activities, such as the movement of vehicles and personnel at facilities and remote sites.”

von Hauff cites Pembina Pipeline Corporation, which has grown into one of Canada’s largest integrated energy infrastructure companies over the last six decades, as an excellent example of one of its clients that has embraced video analytics as a way of protecting its investment in the infrastructure used to transport oil and natural gas across North America.

Using its own brand of HD IP cameras and domes with VCA analytics on board, Osprey Informatics has supplied a state-of-the-art monitoring solution that provides the Pembina Pipeline Corporation with a high level of situational awareness through the use of innovative, user-friendly technology to protect its people, assets and the environment.

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RUSI launches Strategic Hub for organised crime research in the UK and overseas

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has announced the launch of a new Strategic Hub designed to explore and tackle serious and organised crime by way of high level research. The new hub will develop a world class research agenda that meets the needs of both policy makers and practitioners in the field.

The Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research has been initiated in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK.

The harmful impacts of organised crime in the UK are becoming more visible, from new areas such as cyber crime, trafficking in cultural objects and match fixing through to traditional activities like drug trafficking.

The cost of organised crime in the UK is estimated to be at least £24 billion, with a significant impact on communities, families and individuals. Further afield, organised crime undermines development assistance and contributes to instability.

In response, the Home Office has developed the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and established the National Crime Agency. The strategy takes an holistic approach to organised crime, seeking to Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare.

RUSI has launched a Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK

RUSI has launched a Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research in association with the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Partnership for Crime, Conflict and Security within Research Councils UK

Addressing gaps in understanding

Despite the Government’s renewed focus on combating organised crime, there are still gaps in the understanding of the scale and nature of organised crime in the UK and overseas, the effectiveness of strategies to disrupt it and pathways into and out of organised criminality. These gaps undermine attempts to address organised crime on a global basis.

The new Strategic Hub will fill this knowledge gap. Bringing together academic researchers and policy makers, the hub will create greater connectivity between policy concerns and rigorous enquiry.

Initially, the Strategic Hub will work with partners and the academic community to assess what strategies are effective at disrupting organised crime, what criminal markets look like and where the vulnerabilities lie in the system. The Hub also aims to develop new methodologies to examine these and related issues.

Priorities will be examined by policy makers, academics and researchers during a conference to be held at RUSI on 8 December 2014.

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Second Edition of The Handbook of Security published by Palgrave Macmillan

Extensively updated, expanded and reorganised, the Second Edition of The Handbook of Security – which is edited by Professor Martin Gill FSyI, the director of PRCI – provides “the most comprehensive analysis of scholarly security debates and issues” to date.

Informed by a range of disciplines – among them environmental science, criminology, politics and economics – the book brings together contributions from some of the world’s leading scholars to explore the most important issues impacting our understanding of how ‘security’ is provided.

Consisting of 44 chapters, the second edition includes over 25 brand new contributions from international experts in areas as diverse as food security, cyber security, workplace crime, terrorism, organised crime, counterfeiting, intelligence, CCTV, piracy and private military companies in addition to an entirely new section on approaches to researching security through ethnography, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

The Handbook of Security: now in its Second Edition

The Handbook of Security: now in its Second Edition

The book is divided into seven parts – namely disciplines and security, offences, crime and security in sectors, researching security, security products and services, security and its management and critiquing security.

In later sections, this substantive reference work analyses security products and services such as security guarding, alarms and CCTV as well as the management of security. Here, chapters focus on crisis management, partnerships and regulation. The book also applies discussions of crime and security to a variety of sectors including retail, finance and tourism.

The final section critiques security using various approaches including critical security studies, the ‘professionalisation’ of security and ethics.

Put simply, The Handbook of Security is essential reading for all those engaged with the security world.

Supporting testimonials for The Handbook of Security

“Martin Gill has fully updated and expanded his hugely successful Handbook of Security. This new edition brings together first-rate scholars to cover the history and nature of security, the nature of different offences and security practices in different sectors, as well as the issues of management and regulation. A must-have for anyone working in this field” (Tim Newburn, London School of Economics, UK)

“Martin Gill has done more to advance the science and practice of security than anybody else around. Gill has used his considerable professional networks and knowledge of the field to assemble generalists and specialists to produce the most thorough array of chapters on security that I have seen so far” (Marcus Felson, Texas State University, USA)

Professor Martin Gill FSyI

Professor Martin Gill FSyI

“In introducing this new edition of his highly successful Handbook, Martin Gill writes that ‘studying security is an exciting place to be’. The book’s contents amply bear out his view” (Ronald V Clarke, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA)

“A robust collection of new research on a broad variety of contemporary security topics. I recommend it highly to researchers, academicians and security professionals” (Richard C Hollinger, University of Florida, USA)

“Security as an idea, a concern and a pursuit has dramatically reshaped – and is reshaping – social life everywhere. As it does so, it’s transforming governance, Government and scholarship across a wide range of disciplines. This Second Edition of The Handbook of Security is both welcome and timely” (Clifford Shearing, University of Cape Town, South Africa and Griffith University, Australia)

Ordering your copy of The Handbook of Security

The book (ISBN: 9781137323279) is available in both hardback and eBook formats. Access the Table of Contents and learn more about the contributors

For more information on The Handbook of Security’s contents, and to order your copy, visit the Palgrave Macmillan website

You can also e-mail orders direct to: orders@palgrave.com

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Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill receives Royal Assent

Legislation to ensure UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to have access to the vital evidence and information they need in order to investigate criminal activity, prevent terrorism and protect the public has received Royal Assent.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act addresses urgent issues around the retention of communications data by companies as well as the interception of communications.

The legislation was brought forward after the European Court of Justice struck down the European directive that formed the basis of UK regulations governing the ability of the police service and others to access communications data retained by communication service providers.

The Act provides a clear basis in UK law for the retention of communications data and ensures this crucial information continues to be available when it’s needed.

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

The Act is also a response to uncertainty from overseas communications service providers around the legal framework that underpins their co-operation with intelligence and law enforcement agencies regarding investigatory powers. The Act makes clear the obligations that apply to anyone providing communications services to customers in the UK under Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), irrespective of where those companies are based.

The Act, which comes into effect immediately, only maintains and clarifies the existing regime and does not create any new powers, rights of access or obligations on companies beyond those that already exist.

It also strengthens existing safeguards and includes a two-year ‘sunset clause’ to ensure the legal framework is kept under review into the next Parliament.

In parallel, the Government has announced new measures to increase transparency and oversight.

Necessary powers and capabilities

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The threats faced by the UK from terrorism and organised crime remain considerable, and the Government would have been negligent if it had not made sure the people and the organisations that keep us safe have the powers and capabilities they need.”

May added: “If we had not acted immediately, investigations could have suddenly gone dark overnight. Criminals and terrorists would have been able to go about their work unimpeded, and innocent lives would have been lost.”

Continuing the theme, the Home Secretary said: “The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act will ensure the job of those who protect us does not become even more difficult and that they can maintain the use of vital powers to solve crime, save lives and protect the public from harm.”

May concluded: “This Act has cross-party support and I would like to express my gratitude to all those who recognised both the need for this legislation and the reason why it was so important to see it enacted quickly.”

Bringing offenders to justice

Communications data is the ‘who, when, where and how’ of a communication, such as a telephone call or an e-mail, but not its content.

It’s often the decisive factor in successful prosecutions and has helped police solve a large number of serious crimes, including the Oxford and Rochdale child grooming cases as well as the Soham and Rhys Jones murders.

As a result of the ECJ ruling, communications service providers may have started to delete data they are currently required to retain. This would have had potentially devastating consequences for investigations, which often rely on communications data that’s several months old at the point at which it’s requested.

The Act provides a clear basis in domestic law for the retention of communications data in the UK.

Protecting national security

Interception powers, which are subject to very strict controls and oversight, are used alongside other covert capabilities and techniques to identify, understand and disrupt serious criminals and terrorists before they can cause damage or endanger lives.

The Act has made explicit what is already implicit in RIPA that the provisions in RIPA which relate to communications data and interception apply to overseas communications companies offering services to UK customers.

Any loss of co-operation from the companies would have immediately resulted in a major loss of the powers and capabilities that are used every day to counter the threats we face from terrorists and organised criminals.

Introducing new safeguards

The UK has one of the best communications data oversight and authorisation systems in the world. Nonetheless, the following steps will be taken to strengthen oversight and transparency:

(1) The Independent Reviewer of Counter-Terrorism Legislation will hold a full review of powers and capabilities.
(2) The Interception of Communications Commissioner will report every six months on the operation of the legislation.
(3) A senior diplomat will be appointed to lead discussions with overseas Governments and communication service providers to assess and develop formal arrangements for the accessing of data for law enforcement and intelligence purposes held in different jurisdictions.
(4) An Independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Board will be created to consider the balance between the threat and civil liberties concerns in the UK where they are affected by policies, procedures and legislation relating to the prevention of terrorism.
(5) The number of public bodies currently able to request communications data will be reduced.
(6) The UK Government will publish annual transparency reports to make more information publicly available than ever before on the ways in which surveillance powers are operated.

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Home Secretary Theresa May: ‘UK needs capability to defend its citizens’

The world is a dangerous place and the UK must maintain its capability to defend its citizens in the digital age, Home Secretary Theresa May has stated.

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s Defence and Security Lecture in London, the Home Secretary talked of the threat the country faces, including that from British people returning home from the conflict in Syria.

The Home Secretary said that threat – whether from terrorism or organised crime – is changing fast and, on that basis, the UK needs the capabilities to defend its interests and protect its citizens.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Theresa May stressed it was important to talk about the balance between privacy and security “in the full context of the threats we face” rather than “in a strange vacuum, as if the debate was entirely academic”.

The Home Secretary stated: “The terrorist threats to this country and our interests are changing faster than at any time since 9/11. We continue to face possible attacks by Al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but we face further threats from Syria and now from Iraq where Al Qaida, ISIL and others have created a safe haven with substantial resources including advanced technology and weapons.”

May continued: “They are on the doorstep of Europe, just a few hours’ flying time from London, and they want to attack us – not just in Syria or Iraq but here in Britain.”

Challenges to be faced

The Home Secretary told the guests at Mansion House that it’s important to be clear about the UK’s capabilities and the challenges faced in maintaining them in a digital age.

“We are living more of our lives online, using an array of new technology,” said May. “This is hugely liberating and a great opportunity for economic growth. However, this technology has become essential not just to the likes of you and me but also to organised criminals and terrorists.”

The Home Secretary added: “Far from having some fictitious mastery over all this technology we, in democratic states, face the significant risk of being caught out by it. Governments have always reserved the power to monitor communications and to collect data about communications when it’s necessary and proportionate to do so. It is much harder now – there is more data, we do not own it and we can no longer always obtain it. I know some people will say ‘hurrah for that’ – but the result is that we are in danger of making the Internet an ungoverned, ungovernable space and a safe haven for terrorism and criminality.”

Loss of capability: the great danger

The Home Secretary described loss of capability as “the great danger we face”. May said: “The real problem is not that we have built an over-mighty state but that the state is finding it harder to fulfil its most basic duty which is to protect the public. That is why I have said before – and I will go on saying – that we need to make changes to the law to maintain the capabilities we require.”

In conclusion, Theresa May explained: “Yes, we have to make sure that the capabilities can only be used with the right authorisation and with appropriate oversight, but this is quite simply a question of life and death. A matter of national security. We must keep on making the case until we get the changes we need.”

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‘UK companies lag behind the US in cyber security readiness’ reveals BT survey

Many Board level executives around the world are still failing to address cyber security issues, while hacktivism and malicious insider threats (intentional leaks) are perceived to be on the rise.

Just 17% of UK business leaders view cyber security as a major priority compared to 41% in the US, research from BT has revealed.

The research, which assessed attitudes to cyber security and levels of preparedness among IT decision-makers, highlights that UK businesses are lagging behind their US counterparts in crucial areas.

Only one-in-five (21%) respondents in the UK are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their cyber security measures compared to nine-in-ten (90%) of US companies. Similarly, 86% of US directors and senior decision-makers are given IT security training compared to just 37% in the UK.

More than half (58%) of IT decision-makers globally stated that their Boards underestimate the importance of cyber security. This figure increases to 74% in the US but drops to 55% in the UK.

Hacktivism set to pose greater risk

The difference in levels of preparedness correlates with attitudes to threats. Non-malicious insider threats (eg accidental loss of data) are currently the most commonly cited security concern globally, being reported as a serious threat by 65% of IT decision-makers.

In the UK, this falls to 60% and is followed by malicious insider threats (51%), hacktivism (37%), organised crime (32%), nation states (15%) and terrorism (12%).

In the US, the proportion of IT decision-makers who see non-malicious insider threats as a severe threat increases to 85% and is followed by malicious insider threats (79%), hacktivism (77%), organised crime (75%), terrorism (72%) and nation states (70%).

Mark Hughes: CEO at BT Security

Mark Hughes: CEO at BT Security

Looking ahead, more than half of global IT decision-makers believe that hacktivism (54%) and malicious insider threats (53%) will pose a greater risk over the next 12 months. In the US, this increases to 73% and 74% respectively. This compares to 29% and 23% in the UK.

Globally, terrorism is seen as the threat least likely to pose more risk over the next 12 months.

Myriad of internal and external threats

Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security, said: “The research provides a fascinating insight into the changing threat landscape and the challenge this poses for organisations around the world. The massive expansion of employee-owned devices, cloud computing and extranets has multiplied the risk of abuse and attack, leaving organisations exposed to a myriad of internal and external threats which are malicious or accidental.”

Hughes continued: “US businesses should be celebrated for putting cyber security on the front foot. The risks to business are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful. Nor should cyber security be seen as an issue for the IT Department alone.”

In response to emerging threats, three quarters (75%) of IT decision-makers globally say they would like to overhaul their infrastructure and design them with security features from the ground up. 74% would like to train all staff in cyber security Best Practice. Similarly, just over half (54%) say they would like to engage an external vendor to monitor the system and prevent attacks.

Hughes added: “As the threat landscape continues to evolve, CEOs and Board level executives need to invest in cyber security and educate their people in the IT Department and beyond. The stakes are too high for cyber security to be pushed to the bottom of the pile.”

About the research

This research was undertaken by Vanson Bourne for BT in October 2013.
Five hundred interviews were carried out with IT decision-makers in medium-to-large sized enterprises across seven countries – UK, France, Germany, USA, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore – and in a range of sectors (finance, pharmaceutical, retail and government).

BT Security: staying ahead of the threat curve

BT Security is building on 70 years’ experience of helping organisations around the globe and across all sectors get ahead of the threat curve and reduce the uncertainty and complexity of security.

The company provides an end-to-end capability to help organisations enjoy higher levels of security at a time when security budgets are not keeping pace with the threat landscape.

BT Security thinks about assets, people and processes, and combines these with both network and security intelligence to help customers stay ahead of the security risks.

BT Security protects both BT and its customers. These customers are advised by a global team of 1,300 security practitioners, 600 global security specialists and a professional services team of approximately 4,000.

The BT Security Assure portfolio covers: Assure Managed Firewall, Assure Web Security, Assure Intrusion Prevention, Assure Message Scan, Assure Denial of Service Mitigation, Assure Cyber, Assure Managed Cloud, Assure Threat Monitoring and Assure Vulnerability Scanning.

To find out more about BT Security visit: http://www.bt.com/btassure/securitythatmatters

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